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Old 07-19-2004, 04:03 PM   #1
johnfowles
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I have folder of pictures etc that I need find the time to scan to make jpgs
Just looking through it I rediscoverd a remarkable article from an October 2002 issue of our local Newark Star Ledger written around the subject of illogical road signs. We all know the sort of confusion these can and do cause (rather worse in my experience than the set-up in England). The article was headed by the following four pics




(caption under the four pictures)
"Need direction?Then head to Route 440, where signs point to a road that runs North South East and West.Thanks to reader Jack Gavin of West Caldwell for these signs of trouble."
These remarkable direction signs are all on or near New Jersey routes 1 and 9 some 25 miles south of our home which are themselves confusing because they generally run parallel to both the New Jersey Turnpike (of Simon and Garfunkel car-counting fame) and the Garden State Parkway which apparent fact still causes me headaches even after being here 4 years) as such this just might be a possible reason why Valerie Magee took so long to drive from Red Bank NJ to Glenside PA back in April 2002 to attend two of Gord's concerts
The text of the article follows:-
So you're driving north on Route 21 on your way to Clifton Commons.
To get there you'll have to take Route 3 West. There are two signs
on the exit ramp - the one on the right says, "Route 3 East - Left
Lane; the one on the left reads, 'Route 3 West - Right Lane."
Both instinct and logic argue with the evidence presented by the
signs. By the time you come down on the side of evidence, you find
yourself on Route 3 East, heading away trom Clifton Commons
and toward the Meadowlands. Oh well, maybe the racetrack is open.
In the sign business, familiarity breeds carelessness. It probably
never occurred to whoever signed off on the placement of those signs
that they could save drivers a lot of angst if they put the left-turn
sign in the left lane and the right-turn sign in the right lane.
Why don't they do that? Because the sign people work under the assumption
that you're as familiar with the area they're signing as they are.
That's why nobody seems to worry much when one sign doesn't lead
to another. It's as though the goal is only to get you started in the right
direction. After that, you're on your own.
A woman I know spotted a park-and-ride sign on the Somerville Circle
then a second, confirming sign and then, nothing. She drove around the circle five times,
determined to track down the elusive path to the park-and-ride.
Never found it.
I felt like the victim of some practical joke," she said
A good signage system is like a good tabloid news*paper.
The idea is to give information in as few words as
possible. Information that's accurate, to the point
and doesn't leave you with questions that should have
been answered the first time around. There are 36,000 miles
of streets and highways in New Jersey and thousands of traffic
signs. Assessing their effectiveness is no piece of cake. But
other states have pulled it off. And some problems are nothing if not
predictable.For everything there is a season. Summer is
the season for photosynthesis; it's when growing things
spread their leafy arms to embrace traffic signs and
obscure their messages; ofen entire signs disappear
behind a green curtain and stay disappeared
until the first hard frost.
All it takes to resolve this issue is a pair of garden
shears and the will to use them. But traffic signs have
not been a priority in recent years. Basically, the
Department of Transportation has done nothing since
1995 about signs. In fact, budget restraints forced it to
eliminate crews that used to scrub the grime from signs.
1995, as the result of a similar effort by this
newspaper, the administration of Gov. Christie Whit invested
$11 million in shaping up New Jersey. The most striking
improvement was the advent of street and highway markers
that extend above... sorry I do not remember what!!!
[See SIGNS, Page 26 which I omitted to save, ]

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My Gordon Lightfoot webring
starts at
http://www.johnfowles.org.uk/lightfoot

[This message has been edited by johnfowles (edited July 19, 2004).]
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Old 07-20-2004, 12:48 AM   #2
violet Blue Horse
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Haven't spent much time on the L.A. freeway "system" have you. In order to get off this mountain and into L.A. proper I have to catch the east bound 30 to get to the west bound 10. In other words I have to go east to go west. Then there are a couple lovely signs I defy anyone to figure out from the 10 to the 215. We won't even talk about the 91 to the 15 and the twelve hundred transition roads in between the two, each with four different options.

And this would be why I stay on the mountain. I'm afriad to leave.
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Old 07-20-2004, 02:46 PM   #3
searam
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Violet, I am with you! Since I moved to Marina Del Rey from Atlanta, I have never been more confused about how to get anywhere. "Go east, then west, then south, then north"! Whatever happened to "take a right, or left"? How do I know all the compass points???
Sean
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Old 07-20-2004, 08:32 PM   #4
LSH
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Ah, I feel for you all. About 4 months or so ago, they opened a new left lane exit off a certain freeway in Portland, OR (they have lefthand exits on I-5 on the bridges). For days beforehand, every newscast mentioned this and urged caution. The day before they opened the new exit, that's all you heard all day long, on radio, on TV, from your neighbors, etc. You'd think people would have figured out they were opening a new left lane exit. But noooooo, the news that night showed screeching tires and last minute jerks on the steering wheel. Complete overload. They had plastic barrels up, outlining the exit lane, they lasted about 15 min. before the cars creamed them.
Great drivers, really alert, in Portland.
I don't know how these people get out of bed in the morning without tripping over their own feet.
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Old 07-20-2004, 10:44 PM   #5
Borderstone
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I looked at those signs and onethinfg popped into my head......" beep - beep. BEEP! BEEP! His horn went beep - beep - beep!" That song is crazy and so are freeways! Beware!

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"A knight of the road,going back to a place where he might get warm." - Borderstone
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